Health & Fitness Blog

Sunderland Echo Workout 19/4/17 – BURPEE CHALLENGE

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Today’s workout is simple. There’s only one exercise and it only take 5 minutes to complete. But, it targets all parts of your body. Legs, bum, core, and upper body.


Your aim is to work for five minutes, completing 8 BURPEES as quickly as possible at 30 second intervals.


For example, start the clock, perform 8 BURPEES as quickly as possible. If you complete them in 20 seconds, you get 10 seconds rest before your next set.


Complete 10 sets in total.


So overall, you will perform 80 burpees in 5 minutes.


It’s important that you get the technique correct so go to for a demonstration. There’s also a demo of a beginners burpee in case you find them too difficult.

Plus Size Workout – 13/4/17

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This workout is a progression pyramid designed to raise your heart rate without putting too much pressure on your joints.

30 seconds STAR JUMPS
1 minute SQUATS
90 seconds BRIDGE & CRUNCH
2 minutes 4 STEP SHUTTLE
rest for 1 minute.

Complete 4 rounds in total 💪💪💪


Enjoy 😁

6 Ways To Stay Healthy At Easter 🐰

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I love Easter time, there’s lots of fun to be had. Easter egg hunts, crafts, baking, chocolate eggs, hot cross buns. It’s always an action-packed couple of weeks with the kids.


But diet wise, it’s a time of year that I dread!


I’ve just about got back into shape after Christmas and now I’ve got to deal with all of the temptations of Easter.


For weeks, supermarkets have been tempting us with their Easter aisles filled with chocolates, sweets and hot cross buns. They are so clever with their marketing and positioning that it almost feels like they are being forces upon us.


But, you don’t have to give in. Easter can be a heathy time of year, without sacrificing fun.


As a personal trainer and lover of health, I have several fitness tips for a healthy Easter:


  1. Quick workouts.

    Easter can be a busy time; entertaining the kids, preparing meals and visiting family. It may seem as though you don’t have time for exercise. But, if you keep your workouts intense you can get it done in 10-15 minutes. Try my Pyramid Workout in the Workout section of this page.

  2. Make Healthy Eating Choices

    If you remain diligent about eating healthy as the days lead up to Easter, you’ll be able to indulge a little bit on the big day.

    Nobody wants to turn down a lamb dinner and a chocolate egg, so if you make healthy choices until Easter arrives, you should be able to eat a little more indulgently without ruining all of your goals.

  3. Get Outside

    The arrival of Easter means spring has sprung and now is the time to get outside. Even if you’re not going out for a ten-mile run, there are lots of opportunities to get moving outdoors, which will help you burn calories and get fit. Try a walk in the park with the dog, play Frisbee with the kids, walk to the shop instead of driving. You’ll be moving more and enjoying the spring fresh air too.

  4. Register For A Race

    A race is a great motivator because you have to be ready for it. That means you have to put in the time and effort necessary to train. Not only will that help you tone up and slim down for Easter, but you’ll have something fun to look forward to as well. These events are coming up in the Sunderland area:

    Sunderland City 10k – Sunday 7th May.

Sunderland Half Marathon – Sunday 7th May.

Sunderland Big 3K Run – Sunday 7th May.

Pier to Pier Run – Sunday 14th May.

Sunderland Big Ride – Sunday 11th June.


  1. Use Moderation

    I am not going to say you should not eat a single piece of chocolate on Easter because this rule is unrealistic. Get real with yourself and set limits. Several pieces of chocolate will not break the scales, but a whole box of chocolates can break your healthy eating plan. So, focus in life in moderation.

  2. Choose Your Drinks Carefully

    This is a rule that you should follow every day, not just as we get closer to Easter. Drinks can really ruin your healthy fitness goals because many of them are loaded with sugar and calories.

Choose water (with a little bit of cordial if you have to), instead of fizzy drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices which can have heaps of sugar and hundreds of calories in them.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

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If you like dips then you have to try this!

When we have friends over for food and drinks we normally opt for ‘picky foods’. It’s a lot more relaxed than sitting down for a three course meal. One of the first things on the list is this Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Everyone loves it!

It’s healthy, it’s easy to make, it tastes amazing, and it goes with so many things.

Try dipping carrot or celery stick in it.
Use it as a sauce by tossing it with wholewheat pasta.
Or as a dip on the side of your plate.

Caroline will kill me for giving her secret recipe away, but here it goes…


400g Jar Roasted Red Peppers
1 1/2 Wholemeal Pitta Breads
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Green or Red Chilli (chopped)
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar


Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Then transfer to a dish and serve immediately. Keep leftovers covered over in the fridge.

This Is Barry When He First Started… Look How Much He Has Improved!

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This time 6 months ago Barry had just started working with me at boot camp.

That’s a pic of him at his second session…


He was 18st 8lbs. With a 45 inch waist!

Here’s some pictures of his assessment sheets from when he first started…



Before he joined Boot Camp…


He felt sick at the thought of joining. He was worried that he would turn up on the first day and “everyone would be really fit and in peak condition and he would look like a fat pudding!”

^^^ those were his words^^^

  • He was fed up of feeling bloated.
  • Fed up of his belly hanging over his jeans.
  • Uncomfortable in t-shirts because of his moobs.
  • Tired and lethargic all of the time.
  • Out of breath every time he ran up the stairs.


He was sick of feeling that way!


He used to be a rugby player. Fit. Athletic. In shape.

And he wanted to get back to being fit and energetic again.

So, he grew a set of balls and decided to join the group.


What he realised after his first session…


“My perception of boot camp was totally wrong. There was a mix of people at different stages of fitness. Everyone was really welcoming and that put me at ease and I was able to enjoy it”



Fast forward 6 months and just look at the transformation!!!


img_1082This ‘after’ pic was taken a few months ago so he’s actually made even more progress. (I’ll hound him for another photo and post it soon.)

If you look at his assessment sheets you will see he has lost a total of 2.5 stone and 4 inches off his waist.

As a result of the weight loss, he has had to buy a whole new wardrobe!

Another good thing that came out of joining boot camp…

A massive rise in energy levels and motivation.

On top of 2 boot camp sessions, he’s now running on his own 3 times a week. When he first started he couldn’t even run around the car park!

The lighter, fitter, more confident Barry has even tried to copy my style, as you can see form our boot camp night out picture (last week)… I think I rock the denim better 😂 Next time we will have to discuss our outfits Baz 😉

If YOU fancy turning your life around like Barry, then you’re in luck… 🍀

I’ve got 8 spaces open for my ‘FIT FOR SUMMER’ Boot Camp.

It’s a 90 day programme designed to get you in shape in the build up to summer.


It’s perfect for you if:

  • You live in or near Seaham
  • You want to feel more confident in your clothes this summer
  • You struggle to stay motivated on your own at the gym

  • Need to get rid of your beer belly

  • Want to learn about the right things to eat



Don’t procrastinate, just click this link for all of the info and to apply for a place.

Everyone is welcome! It doesn’t matter how fit/unfit you are. Just come along and get started.




10-a-day! You having a laugh?

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Fruit and veg is a hot topic in the health and fitness world at the moment.

A study came out earlier this year stating that we should increase our intake from 5 portions a day to 10-a-day!

Five portions of fruit and veg a day is good for you, but 10 is much better and could prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year, say scientists.

Eating up to 800g of fruit and vegetables – equivalent to 10 portions and double the recommended amount in the UK – was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths.

From my experience, a lot of people struggle to even get 5-a-day never mind 10, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to increase your fruit and veg intake without feeling like you’re going to turn into a cucumber.

Before we get to the tips, let’s have a look at what 10-a-day, or 800g of fruit and veg looks like…

2 kiwi fruit

1 apple

1 pear

½ grapefruit

8 cauliflower florets

1 orange juice

3 tablespoons of peas

2 broccoli spears

1 tomato

1 banana

Looking at that list, it may look like a lot, but there are some easy ways of increasing your intake…



Always keep your fruit bowl well stocked and when you’re feeling peckish grab a piece of fruit for a snack.



Soups are easy to make and they keep quite well (you can freeze most of them). They are convenient to take in a container or a flask for your lunch. Here’s a simple but really tasty Tomato & Chilli Soup recipe….

tomato soup


Serves 4.
12 large vine tomatoes
2 red onions
2 red chillis
Fresh basil roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil


Half the tomatoes. Cut onion into segments. Chop the chilli and remove the seeds. Place all onto a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast the veg in the oven (200 degrees) for 30 minutes.

Remove the roast veg and place it in a blender along with the basil. Blend until it reaches a smooth consistency.



cucumber smoothieYou can pack lots of fruits and vegetables into a smoothie. Have one at breakfast time to get an instant boost of vitamins. Try this refreshing Melon, Cucumber and Lime Smoothie.

Take 1/4 honeydew melon, remove the seeds then cut the flesh away and chop into chunks. Cut half a cucumber into pieces. Put all into the blender with the zest of the lime (grated) and squeeze in the lime juice. Blend until smooth.



When you have pieces of fruit in the house that are starting to turn, chop them all up in to pieces and toss them together in a bowl. Fruit salads make great snacks and desserts. You could add a spoonful of natural yoghurt and a drizzle of honey too.



Try going lighter on the eggs and heavy on the vegetables. To add nutrients and mass to your omelettes, toss in steamed or lightly sautéed veggies like spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, olives, onions, and garlic for a delicious breakfast.


How to STOP Comfort Eating

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How To Avoid Comfort Eating…

Last week I had a phone call from one of my boot camp members seeking some advice.

Paul explained that he was finding it hard to stay motivated over the last couple of weeks and that he had hit a plateau with his weight loss.

It all stemmed from a cold that he picked up a few weeks ago. It meant he couldn’t workout at full intensity. He actually missed a couple of workouts because he didn’t want to make it any worse.

Previous to this, Paul was absolutely flying. He’d lost over a stone in weight and a load of inches, but because of this little set back his weight loss slowed down a little, and he felt as though he was letting himself down.

He felt sorry for himself, and his natural reaction was to raid the fridge for comfort food.

We’ve all been there…

You know, when you’ve had a bad day at work and all you want to do is go home, order a takeaway and drink a bottle of wine to relax and make yourself feel better.

The danger is if this ‘comfort eating’ spirals out of control. When a comfort meal turns into a full days binge eating, then that continues into the next day, then before you know it you’ve been off the rails for a full week, it can be very hard to get back on track.

So, how can you avoid comfort eating?


  1. Realise that you’re never in full control.

    Fitness is just like many things in life… Sometimes outside factors turn up unexpectedly and knock us off track.

    At some point, you’re going to come up against road blocks in your journey. Things like injuries and illnesses crop up that are out of our control.

    However, the road blocks are normally temporary and will disappear very quickly.

    So when they do present themselves make sure you stay strong mentally, work hard and before you know it you will be back in full control.

  2. Avoid having comfort food in the house.

    This one is simple. Clear your cupboards of all comfort foods. Things that are high in sugar like chocolate, biscuits, ice cream, bread and alcohol need to go because they are the things that you will reach for first.

    If they aren’t in the house you’re less likely to go off the rails.

  3. Workout.

    If you find yourself comfort eating, it’s because it makes you feel good for a few minutes while you’re eating it.

    But exercise does exactly the same thing. When you exercise your body releases feel good hormones called endorphins.

    It doesn’t have to take long, just a quick twenty-minute workout is all that it takes. Try my 7 Minute Leg Workout below.

    Trust me, it will make you feel better. Have you ever regretted doing a workout? I bet you haven’t, because you always feel good once it’s done.

Stress Eating

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A lot of people suffer or have suffered from stress. It can be caused by a lot of things, like moving house, financial obligations, getting married, family, being unhappy in your job, having a heavy work load.

Whatever the dilemma, the human reaction is to comfort yourself to make yourself feel better.

You know, when you feel like you have no option but to burry your head in a big bag of crisps and finish off a tub of ben and jerrys in one siting? Or when you visit the kitchen for, well… whatever’s there.

Here’s why food is your go-to for stress — and how to stop the cycle.

This Is Why You Turn to Food When You’re Stressed


When you’re stressed your body releases cortisol, which increases your appetite. Your appetite is ramped up even more if you’re anxiety is causing you to lose out on sleep too.

Unfortunately, that anxiety-induced hunger can have long-term consequences for your waistline.

When you’re under stress, you often feel out of control and overwhelmed — and that can affect your eating habits, So it’s no surprise that you go after junk food like a hungry lion, rather than keeping up your normally healthy habits. You’re worried about the past or the future — not what you’re eating in the present.

Stress also contributes towards lack of focus. That’s why getting stuck into a family size chocolate bar always feels easier than actually coming up with a plan for how to tackle that super tough work project.


When Junk Food Is Calling Your Name


It would be great if we craved carrots and celery sticks when we’re stressed. But, instead we crave high-card, high-fat foods like takeaways, bread, cookies, ice cream etc.

The reason for this is because it increases dopamine, your feel good hormone.

How to Stop Stress Eating


  1. Focus on the real issue.
    We all know food is just a crutch when we’re stressed. Stress eating is not the primary problem, there’s normally an underlying issue. Ask yourself ‘How do I feel?’ or ‘What do I need?’ to figure out what’s really getting under your skin.
  2. Think long-term.
    Take a minute to focus on the future (whether that means recalling your weight loss goals, or how great you want to look on holiday next month) before you give in to stress eating. It can help get you out of the moment so you make healthier food choices instead of giving in to the temptation of a tasty treat.
  3. Be kind to yourself.
    Self-compassion can decrease stress eating. When you’re a kind, understanding friend to yourself, it’s easier to resist the urge to try to disconnect through stress eating. If you do stress eat, promise that you won’t beat yourself up and understand that it happens to everyone sometimes. That can help stop you from eating out of failure and help you make better choices later.
  4. If all else fails…
    Go ahead and indulge. Food is a lovely, comforting thing. So if you’re going to do it anyway, really enjoying it. Sit down, let yourself relax, and taste the ice cream. Of course, do so in moderation. Plan on savouring a small brownie rather than the whole batch.

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lucky manI’ve started watching a new TV series this week… Lucky Man.

It stars James Nesbitt as a detective with a gambling addiction. I’m totally hooked on it at the moment.

Anyway, that’s what I want to talk to you about today. ADDICTION.

Not gambling addictions, but SUGAR ADDICTION.

It’s a very serious problem for a lot of people.

Apart from making you put weight on, there are lots of other bad side effects of too much sugar.

It can contribute towards diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, tooth decay, bad skin, headaches, fatigue and lots of other things.



How do you know if you’re addicted to sugar? And how can you overcome it?

  1. You eat sugary foods past the point you intended.

Have you ever eaten something and only intended to have one piece? But once you finish the first piece you think, “I want more. That wasn’t enough.”

Before you know it, you’ve consumed 10 pieces and you still want more. Like a morning-after hangover, you have feelings of regret immediately afterward.

Ask yourself: Why do I actually want this chocolate? Is it to enjoy one piece of chocolate? Or is it because your co-worker just snapped at you? If you find that your intention for having the chocolate is to soothe yourself, it might be best to step away from your desk and go for a 10-minute walk outside the office instead.


  1. You crave simple carbohydrates.

Your sugar addiction often gets worse because your body craves simple carbohydrates. After consuming them they turn into sugar very quickly and can feed your body’s addiction to sugar.

Pastries, white bread, pasta and white rice, are the most popular simple carbohydrates that sugar addicts will crave.

Start adding more vegetables to your diet like beetroot, sweet potatoes, and carrots. The addition of these types of vegetables will help curb your cravings because of the naturally occurring sugar.


  1. You eat sugary foods even when you don’t really want to.


Has this ever happened to you? You see a chocolate bar and you take a moment and ask yourself if you really want it and you say no. Ten minutes pass. The chocolate bar is calling your name.

You’re salivating but you know it’s not a good idea to eat it. You start rationalising why it would be okay to eat it. You tell yourself you ate healthy today and you’ll skip dessert for the next two days. So you go for it and tell yourself it will only be this one time.

It’s a good idea to always have fresh fruit on hand so you can combat these cravings when they come on.


  1. You eat sugary foods until you don’t feel well.

Have you ever eaten so many cookies that you experienced one or more of the following symptoms: headache, gas, bloated, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, or sleepiness? If so, those are symptoms of a sugar hangover.

If you’re a sugar addict, you probably do this a few times a week if not every day. You know that bingeing on sugar will make you feel this way but you do it anyway. The short-term benefit of eating the cake, cookie, or chocolate is worth the unpleasant aftereffects to you.

Try making an agreement with yourself not to keep sugary foods in the house, and when you’re at a restaurant order only one dessert and fully enjoy it. The act of eating dessert in public often creates accountability.


If you identify with some, if not all of the signs of sugar addiction, you aren’t alone. The good news is you can beat it! The first step is awareness, then you have to those 4 tips into practice.

CONSISTENCY is key! (and a pic of my bathroom)

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Today I’m going to tell you a quick story about my new house.

What’s a house got to do with fitness you’re probably thinking. Well actually, there’s a good lesson in it for you if you keep reading.

Last year Caroline and I bought an old terraced house in Seaham  It was our dream home. It needed lots of work doing to it, but we knew we could make it special.

We got the keys in August, and although we still haven’t finished the renovations, we have made some really good progress.

It’s had walls pulled down. New ceilings put up. Every wall re-plastered. New bathroom and a new kitchen.

It’s been a LONG, HARD road. Lots of HARD WORK. Actually, lots more work than we expected.

There were times when I questioned whether we had done the right thing. And times when I felt like giving up.

But we’ve battled through and we’re nearly there. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re in the decorating phase at the moment and putting the finishing touches on everything.

We have reached this stage by CONSISTENTLY WORKING HARD. These things don’t happen overnight.

I wish I could have closed my eyes and then reopened them to a fully renovated house with zero effort required. Or got the 60-minute makeover team in.

But in the real world that would never happen.

Why am I telling you this? What’s it got to do with fitness?

Well, it’s exactly the same with your FITNESS AND HEALTH. To get fitter and healthier you must work hard consistently.


You have to work hard over a long period of time. You can’t just hit the gym for a few weeks and expect results. You can’t diet for 14 days and expect a flatter stomach.

You must maintain your workout routine and healthy eating plan for MONTHS before you start reaping the rewards.

Always keep your eye on the end goal but take it ONE STEP AT A TIME.

Make SMALL CHANGES to your nutrition and increase the intensity of your workouts GRADUALLY.

Don’t jump right in and try to do everything all at once. Otherwise you will burn out and your body and mind will shut down. Small changes are easy to keep on top of and maintain.

You will get there in the end – if you are CONSISTENT.

Just like our bathroom; there’s blood sweat and tears gone into it. Months of hard work. But we are over the moon with the outcome. It’s been well worth the hard work and effort.



  • Timetable & Booking


    Date: Monday & Friday
    Time: 06:00 – 06:45
    Venue: Seaham Youth Centre (Strangford Road, Seaham, SR7 8QE)
    Price: £30 for 4 week block booking / £85 for 12 week block booking (saving £5) / £160 for 24 week block booking (saving £20)

    Morning Boot Camp – Seaham


    Date: Tuesday & Thursday
    Time: 18:30 – 19:30
    Venue: Seaham Sea Front – meet in Tonias Cafe car park (North Road, Seaham, SR7 7AG)
    Price: £30 for 4 week block booking / £85 for 12 week block booking (saving £5) / £160 for 24 week block booking (saving £20)

    Evening Boot Camp – Seaham


    Date: Sunday
    Time: 10:00 – 11:00
    Venue: Seaham Leisure Centre (Deneside Recreation Ground, Seaham, SR7 8NP)
    Price: £5 per session